Thank you so much to Dave at The Write Reads for inviting me to be part of this blog tour, and to the publishers, Tiny Tree Books, for giving me access to an e-book in return for my honest opinion.
The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams is a dark, twisty fantasy that is a spine-tingingly delicious treat of an adventure into a richly imagined world where two friends discover that daydreams can quickly turn to nightmares.
Eleven-year-old Florizel lives in the small village of Witchetty Hollow with Gammer Oakenshaw, the kind-hearted and poor widow, who has rented her from Storkhouse Services as no children have been born in over 100 years – except to the very wealthy. In order to keep the rent affordable, Florizel must hide her intelligence in school, so that her rent isn’t increased putting her in danger of being re-collected and rented to another family. Her poor performance in school, coupled with her wearing patchwork clothes and eating frogspawn sandwiches, leads to bullying from the other children. She could do with a friend, and finds one in the most unexpected of ways …
Florizel is the first to witness the arrival of the Gobbelino Corporation at Witchetty Hollow. Siblings Griselda, Grimalkin and Grendel are intent on offering the villagers their trio of businesses: the Daydream Delicatessen, a Sack-baby Factory and a Pawnshop. She also witnesses a sack-boy escape into the woods from a recycling box. On her way to school the next day, Florizel meets Burble, a sack-boy who denies that he is old enough to be recycled, and who is eager to learn to read and write. Whilst the other children are horrible to him, Florizel shows kindness to Burble, and it is not long before a friendship begins …
Burble warns Florizel that a ‘strangeness’ overcomes the villages where the Gobbelino Corporation opens for business. It is not long before the villagers become obsessed with the daydreams being offered through the Daydream Delicatessen to such an extent that they care for little else, including payment of the rent on their children. Whilst their children are being re-collected by Storkhouse Services, they turn to cheaper sack-babies being offered by the corporation. When villagers can no longer afford what is being offered in the Delicatessen, they turn to trading their possessions in the sinister Pawnshop which is not what it seems. Can Florizel and Burble discover the truth behind the ‘strangeness’ brought by the Gobbelino Corporation before it is too late to save Witchetty Hollow?
Wow! What an absolutely compelling, captivating adventure! The insidious threat from the Gobbelino siblings sent shivers down my spine and led me into a dark, twisty tale that kept me on the edge of my seat as I learned more about the Gobbelino Corporation and their sinister workings. I really felt the danger and threat to the villagers as they became pawns to corporate greed, caught up in their obsession with daydreams to the detriment of all that should have mattered more to them.
I absolutely adored both Florizel and Burble and loved their close friendship where they supported and looked out for each other. Florizel has to hide her intelligence in order to stay with Gammer Oakenshaw, but uses this, and her courage, to uncover the truth behind the Gobbelino Corporation. Burble is just wonderful! I loved his playful use of language, his endless curiosity and enthusiasm and his impetuous nature which did lead him into trouble at times, but also made him incredibly endearing. He has so much heart and love to give, and just wants to find a family of his own.
The illustrations are absolutely stunning and really capture the dark, eerie nature of the story.
This is a truly mesmerising adventure, filled with friendship, danger and revelations that will make a spellbinding read for those of 9+.
About the Author
Victoria Williamson grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked as an educator in a number of different countries, including as an English teacher in China, a secondary science teacher in Cameroon, and a teacher trainer in Malawi.
As well as degrees in Physics and Mandarin Chinese, she has completed a Masters degree in Special Needs in Education. In the UK she works as a primary school special needs teacher, working with children with a range of additional support needs including Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, physical disabilities and behavioural problems.
She is currently working as a full time writer of Middle Grade and YA contemporary fiction, science fiction and fantasy, with a focus on creating diverse characters reflecting the many cultural backgrounds and special needs of the children she has worked with, and building inclusive worlds where all children can see a reflection of themselves in heroic roles.
Victoria’s experiences teaching young children in a school with many families seeking asylum inspired her debut novel, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, an uplifting tale of redemption and unlikely friendship between Glaswegian bully Caylin and Syrian refugee Reema.
Twenty percent of her author royalties for The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle are donated to the Scottish Refugee Council.
You can find out more about Victoria’s books, school visits and upcoming events on her website: www.strangelymagical.com
20% of the author royalties for this novel will be donated to CharChar Literacy, a wonderful education charity which works to train teachers in Malawi in phonics education to ensure that their pupils get the best possible grounding in reading from the first years of primary school.
Do check out the other stops on this ultimate Blog Tour which runs from 5th until 20th June: